Admission and bookings

 12 March 2013

Admission and bookings staff are responsible for overseeing ticketing systems for entry to heritage venues.

Admission and bookings staff are responsible for organising ticketing systems for entry.
Admission and bookings staff are responsible for organising ticketing systems for entry.

What is the work like?

Many heritage sites charge admission fees to visitors. Even those which do not charge for entry have an admission system involving tickets.

Issuing tickets and recording the numbers of visitors to a heritage venue is an essential part of its management. The venue needs to know how many people are at the site and how many people visit over a particular period.

Some sites limit the number of visitors at any one time because space is tight. Some venues allow, or encourage, visitors to book tickets in advance. Some only allow advance bookings.

Admission and bookings staff are responsible for organising ticketing systems for entry. They may issue tickets and take bookings face-to-face and/or by phone.

Admission staff take phone bookings at a ticket desk, and deal with customers face-to-face.

The work can involve:

  • greeting visitors
  • giving information about the venue
  • selling and issuing tickets
  • operating till systems.

In large venues you may work as part of a team of visitor services staff. In other, smaller venues you may be working alone.

In some venues, admission staff may also have some of the duties of:

  • visitor services
  • retail
  • catering staff.

Admission staff may take phone bookings at the venue’s ticket desk, alongside dealing with face-to-face customers. 

Staff dealing with phone bookings may work in a call centre, usually taking advance bookings. They may also answer customers’ queries about the venue. Staff working in a call centre away from the heritage site may be employed by a call centre or ticketing company (rather than directly by the venue itself).

The work may involve operating IT systems, particularly for telephone bookings.

As well as tickets for entry to a site, admission and bookings staff may deal with tickets for events at the venue. These may be one-off events, such as a Christmas fair, or part of a regular series such as craft workshops or tours of the property. Staff may also be expected to encourage visitors to buy additional items or services, such as guidebooks or tours.

Admission staff mainly work indoors. Some jobs, though, may be based outdoors. Others may be based in a kiosk at the gates of the venue.

You will be expected to dress neatly and appropriately. There may be a dress code. You may have a uniform, provided by the employer.

How do I get into admission and bookings?

You will need good customer service skills. Employers may expect you to have experience in a customer-facing role. Admin or IT experience may be useful, too.

Some heritage venues may not be near public transport links, so you may need your own transport.

Qualifications and training

There are no set entry requirements. You will a good standard of literacy and numeracy, so some employers may ask for GCSE English or maths. IT skills or qualifications may be useful.

If you are working at a heritage venue, with contact with the public, you may need a DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check (previously CRB Criminal Records Bureau).

There are qualifications in customer service at all levels. You may be offered a chance to take a qualification, such as an NVQ, once you are in the job.

There are apprenticeships in customer service. Some are linked to the heritage sector and may include admission and bookings.

Career progression

With experience, you could become a team leader or supervisor, in charge of a team of staff.

Further progression is possible to manager. For example, you could manage the admission operations for a heritage site or group of sites.

If you want to progress further you can move into areas such as commercial operations, visitor services management or venue management.

What can I earn?

Admissions and booking staff may start at the minimum, or apprentice, wage. With experience, you could earn £13,500 to £15,000.

In more senior posts, such as visitor services manager or visitor operations manager, you could earn £19,000 to £25,000.

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